We are reaching the final credits of yet another year in celluloid. Chances are it flew by just like everything else in your life and you had just enough time to make it to the theater a few times. Or maybe you avoided the wallet-emptying excursion because of, you know, the recession. No matter what, I hope you took the time to see some great films this year, because it was a year chock full of entertaining, escapist features.
Although we were dealing with harsh realities in our everyday lives, movie ticket revenues were comparably strong for such depleted economic conditions. It’s really no surprise once we evaluate other more expensive outings like a day at the amusement park or a shopping spree. The movies became a form of therapy, a simple departure from all the stress of our normal lives. But enough about the economy, right? Movies are and will always be an important facet in storytelling, reaching massive audiences and allowing us to live another existence, even if it only lasts 120 minutes.
While I find it nearly impossible to list my personal “top films” of the year, I can without doubt discuss the five films this year, which reflect this escapism cinema we so strongly gravitated to. It was a year to walk out of the theater ecstatic over the experience, instead of completely drained and depressed. Film, as it was for many this year, was my release and pleasurable diversion. I believe the following films reflect this predominant role of movies in 2009, enveloping us into the crease of their worlds.
Summertime usually brings about the tent pole, blockbuster films that are meant for pure entertainment and the apocalyptic comedy Zombieland accomplished this and then some. Woody Harrelson stars in the zany shoot em’up zombie filled world, leading a group of survivors through the wasteland that was once the United States. The film is a pure, hilarious thrill ride with a great cameo to boot.
Another film to come out this summer was the romantic comedy 500 Days of Summer, a movie that was able to reach its young target audience, capturing the whimsical and beautiful aspects of romance while still being brutally honest. Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel are perfectly cast in addition to a stirring soundtrack.
If relationships weren’t your thing, a night filled with debauchery in Las Vegas must be the ticket, and it was for the ridiculously funny The Hangover. Great one liners, unthinkable situations, and amazing comedic timing will have this movie bestowed as a classic in years to come.
There were also two imaginative animated features that were both touching and amazingly inventive to come out this year. Fantastic Mr. Fox and Up reverberate with adults while still entertaining through their artistic visions; you’ll laugh, you’ll cry and you’ll skip away like a little kid.
These films reflect the escapist mentality of moviegoers in 2009, but they are not the end all and the year is not over yet. For example, just last week James Cameron’s massive decade long excursion into the 3D IMAX experience took off with his CG science fiction adventure Avatar. This is the beginning of a new era in film and an interesting jumping off point for the new year. See you with your 3D glasses on in 2010…Happy New Year!
Contact Mark Schroeder
Mirror Contributing Writer